Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day of the Triffids

Just read Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, and even read a print from 1960 complete with pages falling out.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Written in the 1951, it hasn't really aged. The only thing that dates it is the very reserved English prose and conversation, which you really don't find in more modern novels. Given the situation, some of the good British stiff upper lip is almost amusing.
I found it interesting that the Triffids really aren't the centrepiece of the novel, and really, could have been replaced with something else, and have had the same effect. The main concept of the novel is that all but a very small proportion of the population of the world go blind one night, whilst watching strange green lights in the sky, possibly some sort of comet. The novel is really about how those remaining deal with the situation, and struggle to survive amidst lack of power and food etc, but also the political and ideological struggles and conflict as they come to terms with how best to move on and try to survive as a species.
Much of it was really quite disturbing, with wide spread suicide, murder, plague, and generally everything going to hell. Then of course, you throw Triffids into the mix, and it really spices things up. Triffids are plants that can uproot and walk around, but also have a deadly stinger on the end of a long lash sprouting from their tops. Not so bad if you can see them coming, but then they also become a much larger menace as they are free to multiply, and humans are not.
Well worth the read.

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